Dingo is a strategic card game for four players. In this game, being the last player to play a black card of a given rank gets you points, but being the second-to-last gives your opponent points. So what’s a player to do? A good Dingo player has to keep track of the location of as many cards as possible! That, plus a healthy amount of plain intuition, lets a player determine when they should play and when they might be better off passing.
Dingo doesn’t appear to be very closely related to any other card game we’ve seen. That means someone probably just invented it from scratch. Who that might be, though, we don’t know. We do know that it’s played most frequently in Cleveland, Ohio, so that’s most likely where it started out.
Object of Dingo
The object of Dingo is to score the most points possible. This is primarily done by being the last player to play a black card of a particular rank.
A game of Dingo requires a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. You can easily give your game a real upgrade by playing with a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
Remove all of the diamonds from the deck, except for the A♦. Arrange the diamonds in ascending rank order and place them in a pile, face up, in the middle of the table, with the 2♦ showing. These diamonds are called rabbits. Shuffle the remaining 40 cards and deal them out evenly. Each player will have ten cards.
Discards and exchanges
Starting with the dealer, each player discards one card other than an ace from their hand, face up, to a discard pile visible to each of the players. Aces may never be discarded. Players should take care to keep the discard pile squared up, so that only the most recent card played to it is visible.
After everyone has discarded, the dealer chooses one card from their hand and passes it to their left. That player looks at the card passed to them, and likewise passes a card from their hand to the left. This continues until all four players have passed. Each player, again starting with the dealer, then discards a card, as before.
The dealer then leads the next round of passing, this time passing a card to the player directly across from them. The player to the dealer’s left does likewise. Then the turn continues to the left, with the player across from the dealer passing a card back to the dealer. Finally, the player to the dealer’s right passes a card back across to the player on the dealer’s left. Each player in turn, again starting with the dealer, discards a third card.
The final round of passing begins with the dealer, as you might expect, passing a card to their right. The turn still follows the usual clockwise order, though, meaning that the only player who gets to see the card they’ve gotten before choosing to pass a card of their own will be the player to the dealer’s right. Once this is done, there is a fourth and final round of discards. Each player will have discarded four of their initial ten cards, leaving them with their final six-card hands.
Hunting the rabbits
With the players having established their hands, the hunts now begin. The dealer calls out the rank of the card showing on the rabbit pile (for the first hunt of the game, this will be the 2). Whichever player holds the heart of that rank, called the dingo, must immediately play it. If nobody holds the dingo, meaning it was discarded, the hunt ends with nobody scoring, and the rabbit is discarded.
If someone does play the dingo, each player after them in turn may play one of the black cards of that rank, known as the wolves. Unlike the dingo, a player holding a wolf is not compelled to play it; they may simply pass. Wolves can only be played by players other than the dingo player.
When the dingo and only one wolf is played, the wolf catches the rabbit—the person playing the wolf places it and the rabbit in a score pile in front of them. The dingo player also places the dingo in their score pile. If both wolves are played, the second wolf played catches the rabbit. The dingo player places both the dingo and the first wolf in their score pile.
If all three players pass, with no wolves being played, the rabbit is discarded. The dingo then counts against the player who played it. They place the dingo in a penalty pile placed at right angles to their own score pile.
After each hunt is completed, the hunt for the next-higher rank begins. This continues for each rank from 2 all the way up to king.
Hunting the A♦
After the players complete the king hunt, they hunt the ace. Because all of the aces, including the A♦ (the rabbit), are in the players’ hands, this hunt goes a little differently. First, the dingo is played, as usual. Each player in turn then may play one or both wolves (playing wolves is still optional). If both wolves have been played by the time whoever holds the rabbit takes their turn, they may play it then. (If a player holds wolves and the rabbit, they must play the wolves first. They can then immediately play the rabbit afterward.) After the other three players have taken their turn, the dingo player gets a turn to play wolves or the rabbit, if they have them. The hunt then ends.
If the dingo was the only card played and everyone else passed, the dingo is added to that player’s penalty pile, as usual. If any wolves were played, those that played them add them to their own score pile. The dingo player scores for the dingo. The player holding the rabbit adds it to their score pile if they were able to play it; otherwise, they reveal it to the other players and put it in their penalty pile.
After the ace hunt is complete, the players expose their remaining cards. Players should not have any red cards remaining in their hand; playing these cards at some point in the hand is compulsory. Any players who are found to hold any red cards forfeit the game.
Each player tallies up the value of their score piles. The A♦ is worth ten points, all other aces three points each, face cards and 10s two points each, and 9s and lower one point each. The players then compute the value of their penalty piles the same way, although the A♦ is worth only three points in the penalty pile. Finally, by subtracting the value of the penalty pile from that of the score pile, the players arrive at their scores for the game.
Whichever player has the highest score wins the game. In the event of a tie, the player holding the highest rabbit in their score pile (not their penalty pile) wins.
Turnover Bridge is, despite its name, a variant of Whist for two players. Unusually among trick-taking games, each player only has two cards that they can keep secret from the other player. The rest of their cards can be seen by their opponent, helping both players form ideal strategies. Almost half of the cards in the deck are dealt face down at the beginning of the game, however. That means that as the game goes on and those face-down cards are turned over, what constitutes an “ideal strategy” might change quite a bit!
Object of Turnover Bridge
The object of Turnover Bridge is to capture fourteen or more tricks.
To play Turnover Bridge, grab a deck of bridge-size Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. Shuffle and deal twelve cards, face down, in a line in front of each player. Then, deal twelve cards face up, one on top of each face-down card. Deal two more cards to each player, face down, exhausting the pack. The players may look at these last two cards, but not the face-down cards on the table covered by the face-up cards.
In Turnover Bridge, not all of the player’s hand is accessible to them at any given time. Initially, the only cards they may play are the twelve face-up cards from their hand, plus the two cards they hold hidden from their opponent. When a face-up card is played, the face-down card beneath it, if any, is then turned face up and becomes available for play.
The non-dealer leads any card they can access to the first trick. The dealer then responds by playing an accessible card, following suit if able. If a player can’t follow suit, they may play any card they wish. Whichever player contributed the highest spade (spades serving as a permanent trump suit) wins the trick. If nobody played a spade, the higher card of the suit led takes the trick. (Note that this means that when a player cannot follow suit, they cannot take the trick except by playing a spade.) Cards rank in their usual order, with aces high.
When a player wins a trick, they collect the cards and set them aside in a won-tricks pile. Each trick should be kept separate, such as by placing them at right angles to each other. The player who won the trick then leads to the next one.
Game play continues until one player captures fourteen tricks (a majority of the 26 tricks in the game). That player is the winner, and play normally ceases at that point. If all 26 tricks are played out, and it is found that the tricks have been split 13–13, then the game is a tie.
Delphi is a simplified version of Eleusis for three to seven players. As in Eleusis, the central premise of the game is discovering a secret rule created by the dealer. Accomplishing this goal is done by looking over the line of previously-played cards and attempting to spot a pattern. The main difference between Delphi and Eleusis is that in Delphi, each card played to the table is one randomly drawn from the deck, rather than intentionally placed by the players. Players are rewarded for correctly declaring which cards correctly fit the pattern and which do not.
Delphi is the creation of the American scientist and mathematician Martin David Kruskal. Dr. Kruskal published the game in 1962 while a professor of astronomy at Princeton University. Noted for his playfulness, Dr. Kruskal also devised the “Kruskal count”, a magic trick that could even stump other magicians because it was based on deep mathematical principles, rather than the usual sleight of hand.
Object of Delphi
The object of Delphi depends on whether you’re the dealer or just a player. For the players, the object is to figure out the dealer’s secret rule as quickly as possible. For the dealer, the object is to create a secret rule that’s neither too hard nor too easy to figure out (ideally, about half the players should be able to guess it).
For a game of Delphi, you’ll need one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Of course, we very much recommend using a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. You also need pencil and paper (or something similar like a smartphone app) to keep score with, as well as some form of marker or token (like poker chips, beans or other counters) to keep track of the number of correct guesses a player has made on that hand. You should have around 25 tokens for each player (other than the dealer) in the game. If desired, you may also give a decision marker to each player, something that clearly indicates a yes or no response, such as a coin (heads being yes and tails being no) or simply an index card marked “YES” and “NO” on opposite sides.
Determine the first dealer, who is also referred to as the oracle. The oracle devises a secret rule and writes it down on a scrap of paper, keeping it concealed from the players. The rule dictates which cards will be considered “correct” throughout the play of the following hand. The rule must determine this based solely on the cards previously played, and not anything outside the game. (Further explanation and some example rules can be found in the Eleusis setup section.)
Give each player one token, keeping the rest as the oracle’s bank. Shuffle the deck and turn one card, face up, to serve as a starter. The rest of the deck becomes the stock.
The oracle turns one card face up from the stock, placing the card where it can be easily seen by all of the players and announcing its rank and suit. The players then decide whether this is a “correct” play according to the dealer’s secret rule. Obviously, on the first turn of play, this is likely little more than a 50/50 guess, but as the game goes on players will become more confident in their knowledge of the rule and thus be able to decide more accurately.
Once players have reached a decision, they set their decision counter, if playing with one, to reflect this, keeping it concealed with their hand from the other players. If not playing with a decision counter, each player just takes a token or other small object in their hand, shuffles it from hand to hand under the table, and places their closed fist above the table. If they have something concealed in their hand, it indicates a “yes”, and if their hand is empty, it indicates a “no”.
Once all players have reached a decision on the card, on a signal from the oracle, they all reveal their decision. The oracle then declares whether the card was “correct”. If so, the card is placed to the right of the last card played, forming a continuous line of correct cards across the table. If the card is incorrect, it is placed below the last correct card played. The oracle then pays out one token to each player who guessed correctly and collects one token from those who did not. (If a player does not have a token to collect, no penalty is assessed.)
The next card is then drawn, and the process repeats until all 52 cards have been placed on the table.
After the hand ends, each player counts the number of tokens they have. Their hand score is the difference between their own token count and that of each player who collected fewer tokens, added together, minus the total count the difference between their count and that of each player who collected more tokens.
For example, consider a game where Player A collected 29 tokens, B collected 26, C collected 19, D collected 11, E collected 9, and F collected 6. Player C’s hand score would be the difference between their count of 19 and that of D, E, and F, minus the difference between their count and that of A and B. Thus, their score would be (8 + 10 + 13) – (10 + 7) = 31 – 17 = 14. Note that it is possible to get a negative hand score, as F’s score would be 0 – (23 + 20 + 13 + 5 + 3) = –64.
The oracle’s score for the hand is the total of each player’s difference between their count and that of each player who collected more tokens. (That is, everything that is subtracted when each player calculates their score.) In the example above, Player A’s total difference is 0, B’s is 3, C’s is 17, D’s is 25, E’s is 27, and D’s is 64, so the oracle would score 136 points.
All of the tokens are then returned to the bank, and the next player to the oracle’s left becomes the new oracle. Game play continues until each player has been the oracle once.
Divide and Conquer
Divide and Conquer is a simple game for two players. Much like Gops, the exact composition of each player’s hand is known to both players, and all of the strategy comes from simply playing the right cards at the right time! As in Mate, the only element of luck is the cards the player is initially dealt, and this is canceled out by the players switching hands after playing through them. As a result, the game is one of the rare examples of a card game that is entirely based around strategic play.
Divide and Conquer was invented by Claude Soucie, a Canadian-born game designer with several published board games under his belt. Soucie was a longtime friend of renowned game inventor and author Sid Sackson; the latter published Divide and Conquer in his 1981 compendium Card Games Around the World.
Object of Divide and Conquer
The object of Divide and Conquer is win the majority of the game’s ten matches. A player does not necessarily know what card their opponent will play next, so this more or less involves outwitting the other player.
Divide and Conquer uses a very small number of cards. Take a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards and extract one queen, and one each of all of the cards 2–10. (Suit doesn’t matter.) These ten cards are all you need to play the game.
Shuffle and deal five cards to each player, exhausting the pack.
Before beginning play, each player should carefully examine their hand. It is important to realize that the five cards they don’t have are the ones their opponent does have. Furthermore, all of the plays are left face-up on the table. That means that at any given point in time, each player knows the exact cards their opponent holds.
Each player places one card from their hand face down on the table. When both have done so, the cards are both revealed, and compared to see which is the winner. In most cases, the higher card wins (cards rank in their usual order). However, if the pip value of the lower card divides evenly into the higher card, the low card wins. The queen has a value of twelve for the purposes of division. Also, if the low card has a pip value of exactly one below the high card, the low card wins.
- 9-5. The 9 wins because it is higher.
- Q-6. The 6 wins because 12 ÷ 6 = 2.
- 10-9. The 9 wins because it is one lower than the 10.
- 9-3. The 3 wins because 9 ÷ 3 = 3.
After the winner of the match is determined, both cards are placed in the middle of the table. The cards should be placed so that the two cards are clearly next to each other, with each card on the same side of the table as the person who played it. The losing card should be turned at right angles to signify its loss. The next match is then played the same way.
After the fifth match, both players will be out of cards. The cards are assembled back into their original hands, and the two hands are then swapped. The players then play five more matches, using the cards their opponent was originally dealt.
Whichever player wins a majority of the matches wins the game. If the players evenly split the matches, the game is a tie.
For a longer game, use a fourteen-card deck composed of 2–10 of one of the black suits and 2-4-5-6-8 in one of the red suits. The values of the red cards are equal to ten plus the pip value, so the red 2 has a value of twelve, the red 4 is fourteen, etc. Deal seven cards to each player. The best of fourteen matches wins.
Mate is an obscure two-player game that was originally created in Germany. Like Gops, it is a game with a heavy emphasis on strategy. Unlike Gops, however, which eliminates luck by removing all but a small element of randomness from the game play, Mate mitigates the naturally-occurring randomness from the deal of the hands by requiring players to play each deal twice, swapping hands with their opponent after the first playthrough.
Mate appears to have first been published in a German-language pamphlet called “Zwei neue Kriegspiele!” (in English, “Two New War Games!”) published in Hanover in 1915 by one G. Capellen, apparently the inventor of the game. It remained relatively unknown until Sid Sackson, an avid game collector and author best known for creating the board game Acquire, purchased a copy of “Zwei neue Kriegspiele!”, despite knowing little German at the time. Sackson was quite taken by the game, and later spread it to a wider audience by including it in his 1969 book A Gamut of Games. Sackson theorized that “Zwei neue Kriegspiele!” (and therefore, Mate) never took off because of the concept of war games simply didn’t appeal to the populace of a country engaged in World War I when the booklet was published.
Object of Mate
The object of Mate is to force an opponent to be unable to play a card matching the card led in suit or rank, but allowing as many turns to pass as possible before then.
Mate is played with a stripped pack of only 20 cards. Starting from a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, remove all of the jacks, 9s, 8s, and 6s through 2s, leaving a deck composed of A, K, Q, 10, 7 in each of the four suits. You’ll also need something to score with, such as pencil and paper.
Shuffle and deal the whole pack to both players, five at a time. Each player will have a hand of ten cards.
Mate more or less follows the standard card ranking, except for 10s, which rank between aces and kings. Aces are high. Therefore, the full rank of cards is (high) A, 10, K, Q, 7 (low). The suits also rank relative to one another: (high) clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds (low).
Unlike most two-player games, the dealer gets the first move. They begin by deciding whether not they wish to foreplace (i.e. discard) a card. If so, they place it face-down in front of them. The non-dealer then has the option to foreplace a card. Foreplacing a card increases the score if the player wins the hand (see below).
The dealer then leads the first card. The non-dealer must then respond by playing a card of the same suit, if possible. If they cannot, they must play a card of the same rank as the card led. These two cards constitute one move. The higher-ranked card wins the move; if both cards were of the same rank, the card of the higher suit wins. Whoever played the higher card then leads to the second move.
Game play continues in this fashion, with each player placing their cards to separate face-up piles in front of them, being careful not to mix the cards between the hands. If a player is at any time unable to follow the lead in suit or rank, the leader of that move is said to have given mate to their opponent. The player giving mate scores the value of the card they played to give mate, multiplied by one for each move played (e.g. a mate on the fifth move would score the value of the mating card times five). If a player foreplaced a card, this foreplacement is counted as move one for that player, so the number of moves is effectively increased by one.
The values of the cards for scoring is:
- Ace: eleven.
- Ten: ten.
- King: four.
- Queen: three.
- Seven: seven.
So for example, if a player gave mate with a queen in the fifth move, they would score 3 × 5 = 15 points. If they foreplaced a card, this would be counted as the sixth move, so they would score 3 × 6 = 18 points.
In the case where one player foreplaced and the other did not, the player who foreplaced is considered to play the same card to both the ninth and tenth moves. If this card gives mate to the opponent, it is called an overmate and scores double. An overmate with an ace is the highest possible score for one game: 11 (for the ace) × 11 (for the tenth move, plus one through foreplacement) × 2 (for the overmate) = 242.
If both players manage to play out the entirety of their hands without either player being mated, it is considered a draw. Neither player scores in this situation.
After the game, the two piles of cards are swapped. The same hands are then played again, but with each player playing the hand that previously belonged to their opponent. The original non-dealer leads off. This pair of games played with the same hands is called a round.
After completing the first round, the original non-dealer collects the cards, shuffles, and deals fresh hands to each player. These hands are used to play a second round. Two rounds make up one match; the winner of the match is the player with the higher score after its conclusion.
Eleusis is a game with a simple premise—only the dealer knows which cards are acceptable to play and which are not, and the players have to determine what the rule of play is! But getting there is the fun of the game; players only have the history of previous cards played to go off of, and must deduce the rule of play from that knowledge.
Robert Abbott invented the game in 1956, and was the subject of a column by Martin Gardner in Scientific American in June 1959. Abbott began revising the game in 1973, adding the role of the prophet, and Gardner wrote about the game again in Scientific American‘s October 1977 issue. After the latter column, Eleusis started to be added to the game books. The game’s uniquely deductive game play has been noted as being a practical application of the scientific method in everyday life, and scientific papers have been written analyzing the thought processes of Eleusis players for this reason. A variant of the game, Eleusis Express, was even created to help provide educators a hands-on tool to illustrate the scientific method to students.
“[Eleusis] should be of special interest to mathematicians and other scientists because of its striking analogy with scientific method and its exercise of precisely those psychological abilities in concept formation that seem to underlie the ‘hunches’ of creative thinkers.” —Martin Gardner, Scientific American, June 1959
Object of Eleusis
The object of Eleusis is different for the dealer than it is the players. The dealer’s goal is to create a rule of play that is difficult enough that the players cannot easily deduce it but easy enough that it is eventually solved. The players’ goal is to correctly deduce the rule of play.
Eleusis requires quite a few cards to be played right. Use two decks of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, shuffled together (not including jokers), to form the initial stock. You should also have a third and possibly fourth deck handy if necessary to replenish the stock.
Eleusis has quite a large layout, so a suitably large table will be necessary in order to play the game. If nothing else, you may be required to play on the floor (although this leaves the game vulnerable to roving toddlers and dogs if any are present).
Before dealing, the dealer comes up with a rule of play that will be followed throughout the hand and records it on a scrap of paper, keeping it concealed from the players. The rule must prescribe which cards are acceptable to play, determining this in terms of the previous cards played and cannot reference anything outside of the layout, such as the time or date, details about the players or the number of cards they hold, et cetera. Rules often, but not always, use something about the last card played as their basis, such as its color, suit, or number (if number is used, aces are normally treated as having a value of one, jacks equalling eleven, queens equalling twelve, and kings equalling thirteen). Some example rules are:
- If the last card played was red, play a black card, and vice-versa.
- Each card played must have a value of two less or two more than the last card played.
- Two consecutive cards of the same color must be played, then three consecutive cards of the other color, and so on.
- The cards must cycle through the suits in the order ♠♣♦♥.
Shuffle the deck and deal fourteen cards to each player, except for the dealer, who receives no cards and takes no active part in game play. Turn the top card of the deck face-up and place it at one edge of the play area; this card is the starter. The remainder of the deck becomes the stock.
The player on the dealer’s left plays first. They lay a card down, face-up, as a potential play. The dealer calls this card “Right” if it fits with the rule of play or “Wrong” if it does not. If the card is right, it is placed beside the starter, forming a horizontal line called the mainline. Otherwise, it is placed above or below the starter, forming a line of incorrect plays called a sideline, and the player who attempted the incorrect play is dealt two cards to add to their hand.
As players become more confident in their knowledge of the rule, they may set down multiple cards as their play, specifying the order they are to be played in. The dealer then declares this string to be “Right” or “Wrong” in its entirety. In the event of a wrong play, the dealer does not specify which or how many of the played cards caused the string to be incorrect. The cards are moved to the sideline as a unit, fanned together to show that they were played as a string and not as singleton plays, and the player is dealt twice the number of cards in the string as a penalty (e.g. for an incorrect five-card string, the player is dealt ten cards).
If a player believes they have no legal play, they may expose their hand and call “No play”. The dealer then examines their hand. If the player truly has no moves, the player’s hand is discarded to the bottom of the stock and they are dealt a new hand with four fewer cards than they had previously, unless the player only has four or fewer cards, in which case the hand ends immediately. If the dealer spots one or more cards that can be legally played, they move one of these cards to the mainline and receive a penalty of five cards from the stock.
Once a player is certain they have discovered the rule of play, they may, after their turn but before the next player’s, declare themselves to be the prophet (or in some rules, the forecaster). There can only be one prophet at a time, and a player may not serve as prophet twice in one hand. There must also be two or more active players other than the prophet and the dealer in order to become the prophet. A marker of some kind (such as a chip, a coin, or a roulette dolly) is placed on the last card played whenever a player becomes a prophet. The prophet sets their hand aside (but does not discard it).
The prophet then takes over all functions as dealer, declaring the other players’ actions to be “Right” or “Wrong”, and the dealer merely calls out “Correct” so long as the prophet continues to accurately follow the rule of play. If the prophet makes an incorrect declaration, they are deposed as a “false prophet” and are dealt five penalty cards from the stock. They then pick up their hand, remove their marker from the mainline, and resume normal game play again. If the prophet was overthrown as a result of a player’s incorrect play, the player does not receive any penalty cards for that play (as an incentive to try to deliberately trip up the prophet).
Expelling players from the game
Beyond a certain point in the game, players who make an incorrect play (i.e. a card or string of cards declared “Wrong” or an incorrect “no play” declaration) are expelled from the game. If there is a prophet, this is when 30 or more cards have been played after the prophet’s marker on the layout. If not, then it occurs when there are 40 or more cards on the mainline. Note that it is possible for expulsion periods to stop and start again, as a new prophet essentially resets the clock for the start of the expulsion period, and overthrowing a prophet means that an expulsion period begins on the next turn if 40 or more cards have been played to the mainline.
There is one exception to expulsion, and that is when a player’s incorrect play overthrows the prophet. A player who successfully causes a prophet to be deposed is immune to both penalty cards and expulsion for their incorrect play.
When a player is expelled, they still retain their hand and receive their penalty cards, as normal. They simply do not take any part in active game play for the rest of the hand (which includes becoming the prophet).
Ending the hand
A hand of Eleusis ends when:
- A player correctly declares “no play” while holding four or fewer cards.
- A player depletes their hand.
- All players (other than the prophet, if any) have been expelled.
At this point the hand is scored. Each of the players counts the number of cards in their hand, then scores the difference between the number of cards they hold and the number held by whoever had the most cards (who scores zero). For example, if a player holding thirteen cards had the most cards, then a player holding nine cards would score four points.
If there is a prophet, they score their hand as usual, but receive a bonus of one point for each correct card after their marker and two points for each incorrect card after their marker.
The dealer’s score is typically equal to whatever the highest hand score of all the players was. However, if there was a prophet, the number of cards between the starter and the prophet’s marker is counted and multiplied by two. If this value is less than the high score for the hand, this is the dealer’s score instead. (This is to provide a deterrent to making easy rules.)
Game play continues until all players have had a chance to deal. Whoever has the highest total score at this point is the winner.
Eleusis Express is a pared-down version of Eleusis that was developed by mathematics professor John Golden in 2006. It was intended as a teaching tool to illustrate the scientific method to elementary-school-aged children, although it makes for a quicker, simpler game. Eleusis Express is identical to base Eleusis except:
- Players start with twelve cards rather than fourteen.
- Only one card may be played at a time—no strings.
- If a player correctly declares a no play, they are dealt a new hand with one card fewer than the number they had (if they were down to one card the hand ends). If they declared no play in error, the dealer plays a correct card from their hand to the mainline, and the player receives only two cards as a penalty.
- There is no prophet and no expulsion.
- If a player believes they know the rule of play, they may simply guess it out loud after any correct play. The dealer confirms if they are right or wrong (note that the exact wording on the sheet is, of course, not necessary, only an accurate and complete description of the rule). If they are right, the hand ends.
Scoring for Eleusis Express is as follows:
- Each player scores twelve points minus one point for each of the cards in their hand.
- A player who depleted their hand scores a three-point bonus (scoring fifteen in all).
- A player who successfully guessed the rule scores a six-point bonus.
- The dealer’s score is equal to whatever the highest hand score of all the players was.
Gops (also known as Goofspiel) is a rare example of a card game where luck doesn’t factor into the game play at all, owing to the fact that each player’s hand begins with exactly the same cards. In fact, the name Gops is said to derive from “Game of Pure Strategy”. It can be played with two or three players, or more if multiple decks are used.
Gops was invented at Princeton in the 1930s. Its complete lack of luck has led to it being studied to find the mathematically perfect strategy.
Object of Gops
The object of Gops is to win the most prize cards.
Gops with up to three players is played with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards, like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. Unlike most games, the cards are not shuffled and dealt; instead, the deck is separated into its four suits. The diamond suit is set aside to serve as the prize cards, and each player is given all thirteen cards from one of the other three suits.
If playing with more than three players, hand out the hearts, spades, and clubs from a second deck. The diamond suit from the second deck is set aside and takes no part in game play.
Each player takes their suit and arranges it in such a way that its order in their hand is not obvious to the other players. The prize pile is shuffled and placed face-down in the center of the table.
Any player turns up the top card of the prize card pile. Each player then looks at it and places a bid for the prize card by taking one card from their hand and placing it face-down in front of them. After all players have bid, the bid cards are turned face up, and the player who placed the highest bid wins the prize card, keeping it in a face-up won-cards pile in front of them. Cards rank in the conventional order, with aces low (A, 2, 3, … J, Q, K). In the event of a tie, the prize card is not awarded to any player and discarded. After bidding is resolved, all of the bid cards are discarded.
Game play continues until all thirteen prize cards have been bid on. Each player then totals the value of their won prize cards. Aces are worth one point, jacks eleven, queens twelve, kings thirteen, and all other cards their face value. The winner of the game is the player with the highest point total.
Concentration (also known as Memory, and, in the UK, as Pelmanism), is a simple game of memory. It is also a game with no luck involved; the only way to win a game of Concentration is through the skill of memorizing the layout.
Object of Concentration
The object of Concentration is to be the player to match the most pairs by remembering the locations of cards in the layout.
Concentration uses one standard 52-card pack. While Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards won’t necessarily help you remember the cards better, they do look rather nice, in our opinion, at least.
Shuffle thoroughly and spread the deck face-down on the table. Separate the cards so they do not overlap. If you wish, you may arrange the cards into some sort of tidy pattern, like a grid, but this is not necessary.
The player to the left of the dealer goes first. They flip any card, face up, then a second, trying to find a card of the same rank as the first. If they successfully find a match, they remove the two cards from the layout, keeping them in a personal discard pile, and then play again. If the two cards revealed do not match, they are turned face down and the turn passes to the next player to the left.
Game play continues until the entire layout has been paired off in this way. The winner of the game is the player with the most pairs.
The game may be played with two or more decks shuffled together. This allows for more players and makes finding matches more difficult (as well as making the game longer).
If more difficulty in finding matches is desired, you may require each card only be matched with the card of the same rank and color as the first card revealed. Note that no matter how difficult you make matching, it will gradually become easier as the layout is cleared.